Faith in Action: Open Arms Ministry

- Every third Sunday of the month, Hyde Park United Methodist Church is buzzing a little louder than usual. Part of their South Tampa campus turns into a hair salon for the morning.

It looks like a salon and certainly sounds like one, but the barber shop is not for profit. It's a gift of grooming courtesy of Hyde Park UMC's Open Arms ministry.

"Those reality shows have nothing on us!" Rev. Vicki Walker laughed.

Once a month, hundreds of people facing homelessness and poverty are invited for a free cut and conversation. Stylists are up for the challenge. Stylists from Salon 427 come every other month from Spring Hill to donate their time and talents.

"Money is not everything. The joy that you get from making someone feel great about themselves, that's priceless," stylist Christy Fleming smiled.

With every snip and each glance in the mirror, a precious exchange happens on both sides of the barber chair.

"This is an opportunity for people to employ their gifts to serve others and to get to know we're all the same. Underneath all of this, we're all the same. We're human beings with beating hearts, and dreams and hopes, and some of us have been discouraged," Walker said.

The Open Arms ministry also offers a number of other services for people in need. For more information, visit or call 813-253-5388.

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